Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stuffed Bell Pepper with potato crumble

I recently saw a pic of a stuffed bell pepper on FB on my friends page. I asked her what it was stuffed with and she said " Potato Podimas" ( aka potato crumble) ! I was very intrigued by that and could not wait to try it.

To my limited knowledge, i have seen bell peppers stuffed with rice, cheese and all kinds of things which did not catch my attention. This one surely did! I did some online search and found that majority of them cooked the bell pepper on a tawa. I wanted to bake it and see. So, here I am with a recipe for stuffed bell peppers, baked and cooked on a tawa. I liked both versions and the tawa ones have a little smokier flavor.

You can add garlic, paneeer, carrots, green chiili to the stuffing as per your taste.

These stuffed peppers are so wholesome as a meal themselves. it also depends on the size of the bell pepper. Our whole family liked it and let us get to the recipe!

Get Ready:

  • 3 bell pepper ( i used green and orange)
  • 3 large potatoes, cooked, peeled and crumbled
  • 1/2 large onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste.

To make the potato stuffing:

  • Peel and crumble the cooked potatoes and set aside

  • In a pan add 1 tbsp of oil and when hot add the cumin seeds
  •  when they crackle, add the onions and saute till they are translucent.

  • Add the green peas and saute for 1-2 mins

  • Add the crumbled potatoes, salt , red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder and fold the mall well.

  • If it gets too try sprinkle a little water, reduce the heat and cook on medium flame till all the spices get incorporated in the potato.
  • Check your spice level and if needed add chilli powder or garam masala as per taste.
  • Finally add the cilantro, turn the heat off and set aside to cool a little

The stuffing is ready.

To stuff the bell pepper.

  • Wash and dry the bell peppers.
  • With a sharp knife, remove the pith of the pepper and dump the seeds inside. You will just have a whole on the top of the pepper.

  • the other method is to cut off the top of the pepper like a lid and set aside. remove some of the white fibers and seeds from the inside of the bell pepper.

  • Apply a little salt to the inside of the bell pepper and this enhances the flavor.
  • The peppers are ready to be stuffed.

  • With a spoon stuff the potato podimas inside the peppers pressing down.
To bake them:

  • Pre heat an oven to 300 degree C
  • Line a baking tray with foil and spray with cooking spray
  • Apply oil to the outer surface of the bell pepper
  • Bake for 30 -40 mins depending on your oven till the bell peppers is soft and and cooked.
  • Make sure to flip them over in between so all sides are cooked well.

To Pan cook

  • In a tawa, add 1 tbsp pf oil.

  • Place the stuffed pepper in the pan, cover and cook for 3 mins on low to medium flame. 
  • Flip them around 360 degrees every 2-3 mins till  all sides are cooked well. If you like a little charred taste, Uncover and cook longer if you want it crispy.

  • Turn the heat off till all sides are cooked.

Serve hot with rice or as a one pot meal!

In my picture, the one on the plate is the tawa cooked one and the other two with the yellow bell pepper is oven cooked.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Carrot Chutney Sandwich : Inspired by Mark's & Spencers Carrot & wensleydale sandwich

Any one who has tasted the M &S carrot chutney and Wensleydale cheese sandwich will elaborately tell you how good that one is! It is one of their best vegetarian sandwiches, hands down! i wish supermarkets here carried nice vegetarian sandwiches as the ydo in M & S, Sainsbury or Tesco!

The US markets have really limited options for vegetarian sandwiches !

I wanted to re create that sandwich here, but could not find any recipes on line. I was not sure what the equivalent of wensleydale cheese would be. After looking through the online resources, I came with this recipe and decided to substitute cheddar cheese for wensleydale cheese.

I open my fridge and found that I have only cheddar and colby grated cheese. I used what I had and am very pleased with the sandwich.  My variations were

* I used some grated ginger with carrots
*used some red chilli powder
*used less sugar , as my chutney had a little zing from the ginger and was not too sweet.
*used some cilantro
*made a sandwich and a wrap

So Here is the recipe

 Get Ready

For the sweet chutney

  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 -2 tsp grated ginger ( optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsps dark brown sugar
  •  salt to taste
  •  1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1-2 tsp water
  •  1 tsp ghee
To assemble sandwich

Bread/ tortillas
Cheddar cheese chopped/ grated
cilantro ( optional)


  • In a pan, add the ghee . Once hot add the carrot and ginger and slight toss them around till fragrant.

  • Now sprinkle some water, add required salt ,chilli powder and cook covered on a low flame.
  • Add water little by little as needed till the carrots are soft.

  • Add the  brown sugar.

  • The carrot  mixture will be gooey.
  • Cook stirring in between till the chutney comes around together leaving the sides of the pan, within 3-5 mins. 

  • Turn the heat off and let it allow to cool.

 To assemble the sandwich

  • Apply a thin layer of mayo on both sides of bread.

  •  spread the sweet carrot chutney on one side. sprinkle cheese on top of the chutney.

  •  you can add cilantro, or lettuce or baby spinach on top of the cheese
  •  cover with another bread , cut and serve.
To make it as a wrap, use a flour tortilla. spread the mayo in circle, add the carrot chutney and greens of your choice. roll tightly, cut diagonally and serve.

Enjoy this lunch with some chips, yogurt or fuit!

A perfect sandwich for luch, birthday parties, back yard parties or book club gatherings.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sambara puli aka Kothamalli dry chutney

"Sambara puli " is what they call the dry kothamalli/ coriander chutney in most of the tam bram households. I remember my grandma preparing this while I drool over the sweet, spicy and tangy chutney. My grandma used to make it in the traditional " attukkal" which means the hose maid has to stay for an extra shift. The addition of jaggery gives this chutney an enhanced taste of the tamarind and other spices used.

It tastes so good with molagootal, idli, dosa and of course mu favorite is to eat with thayir sadham
( curd rice).
It stays good in the fridge for few weeks and comes in handy if you want to make some coriander chutney. Just add this, some coconut and grind and your chutney is ready.

Get Ready

  • 1 bunch of cilantro washed
  • 1/4 cup urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 5-6 red chillies
  • marble sized tamarind
  • A small marble sized ball of jaggery ( optional)
  • 1 -2  tsp oil
  •  Salt to taste


  • Spread the washed cilantro on a towel and let it air dry over night. Discard the thick stems and leave the rest intact. The cilantro will look wilted, but will still have some moisture in it. 

  • coarsely chop the cilantro and set aside.

  • In a pan, add the oil and roast the urad dal on medium heat till golden. set aside
  • Add a little oil and roast the red chillies till they are shiny and crackly. Be careful not to burn them. set it aside.
  • Add a little oil and roast the tamarind and set aside.

  • Once every thing cools, to a blender add the roasted red chilli, cilantro, jaggery, tamrind, asafoetida, salt and pulse them several times.

  • Add the roasted urad dal and pulse multiple times till everything comes together. You can grind the urad dal as coarse as you want if you want the sambara puli to be crunchy. store them just as is or make small balls and set aside.
Store it in an air tight container and refrigerate.

Enjoy this samabara puli and let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Brussel Sprouts Masala

Brussel sprouts is a vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. It is low in calorie and great vegetable with lots of  fiber. It supposedly also has a lot of cancer protective effects which are fully not know.

They look like tiny cabbage and are usually eaten steamed by the people outside India. When I first cooked them in UK, I cooked like a cabbage thoran/ poriyal with moong dal and coconut. I have always prepared it that way and my family likes it. I wanted to give a little twist and tried a masala version and trust me, it tastes so good.

You can add garlic or any other spices you want including peanuts and will make a great side dish to go with rice and chapathi.

So here is the recipe.

Get Ready

  • Brussel sprouts 10- 12
  • 1/2 of a large onion diced
  • 1 tsp samabr podi
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp saunf powder / sombu podi ( optional)
  • A pinch of amchoor powder ( optional)
  • 1/4 tsp asafotida/ perungayam
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • a few curry leaves

To Grind:

  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and cut
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1 large green chilli


  • Wash the brussel sprouts well to remove any dirt. Quarter them lengthwise and set aside. While cutting, some of the leaves may fall out, but that is ok.

  • Grind the  tomatoes, ginger and green chilli to a puree and set aside.

  • In a pan, add oil and do tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder.

  • Add the onions and saute` till they are translucent.

  • Add the tomato puree and the powders ( sambar,coriander, saunf, amchoor) to the puree. Cover and cook till the raw smell of tomatoes are gone, about 5- 7 mins. Check your spices and add more spices as you need.

  • Add the quartered sprouts, salt to taste and toss them well in the cooked tomato masala.

  • Cover,reduce heat and cook by sprinkling water as needed till the sprouts are cooked. Don't over cook them, they should have a slight crunch to them.

  • Once the sprouts are cooked, uncover the lid and cook stirring in between till the dish is little dry.

  • Turn the heat off and serve.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mambazha koottan / Mango Curry

Here I am today with a very easy Kerala style koottan. It tastes wonderful with rice, idli, dosa. The addition of fresh coconut with roasted fenugreek seeds gives a wonderful aroma. The key to add flavor to this dish is the roasting of the fenugreek seeds to the right perfection. If you roast them too little or too much the koottan will taste bitter or burnt.

Get Ready

  • 1/2 cup chopped mango with skin
  • 1.5 cups water
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp vendhayam / fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ulutham paruppu / urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds/ dhaniya
  • 1.5 red chilli
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1tsp oil
  • 2 tbsp beaten yogurt ( whisk regular yogurt, sour one works the best)

To temper

  • 1/2 tsp kadugu/ mustard seeds
  • 1/4 red chilli
  • few curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil


  • In a pan add a tsp of regular oil, add the vendhayam, dhaniya, red chillies and roast them on medium flame till the the vendhayam get dark brown or pops. turn the heat off and set it aside to cool.

  • Once cooled, add the grated coconut, a little asafoetida, a little water and grind it to a smooth paste in a blender. set aside.

  • In a vessel, add 1 cup of water, the chopped mango, turmeric powder, salt and cook till the mango is soft.

  • Add the ground coconut paste and the beaten curd. adjust salt as per taste.
  • Add a little water if your koottan is too thick.

  • Let it cook till the koottan starts frothing in the sides.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In a small pan, add the coconut oil and do the tempering with mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilli and pour it on the koottan.

Mambazha koottan is ready to be enjoyed!

If you use raw mango add a little jaggery as it it will enhance the taste. One can use, small onions, drumstick, squash, winter melon to make this koottan

Friday, March 18, 2016


"Pizzadilla" Cool name isn't it? I know you all are rolling your eyes!

The first time I heard and tasted  something called "pizzawich" was at a joint called "Which wich" in Charlottesville, 2011. It was such a simple thing to make but the name sounded so cool that my son then 11 used love them a lot.

I have made pizzawich so many times and my kids love them! So this time I made pizzadilla, pretty simple right.

If you have kids that likes red sauce pasta and cheese, just go straight to the kitchen to make these!
This is a great food to cook with your kids or when having play dates. My daughter loves to spread the sauce, sprinkle cheese etc. She feels like a big grown  up chef, making them and eating them as well.

Get Ready:

  • Medium Flour tortillas
  • Pizza/ pasta sauce
  • grated cheese ( I had colby and montery jack)
  • olive oil for brushing

Other options include, chopped red onions, bell peppers, olives, mushroom, pine apples etc etc.


  • Heat a skillet
  • Spread pizza/ pasta sauce on a flour tortilla. sprinkle cheese. fold the tortilla over

  • Brush with olive oil and cook on both sides, pressing down with a spatula till the cheese is ooey gooey and the tortillas are golden brown. Cut them into triangles with a pizza cutter/ knife and serve.

  • Serve with sour cream, salsa or more pizza sauce for dipping.
You will be the super cool mom if you do this on a play date!